Security experts keep commenting on top officials reshuffle in Belarus

The Eurasia Heritage Foundation online site has acquainted its readers with an analysis of the recent reshuffle in Belarus security forces. AIA already reported that aide to President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko on protocol issues, Vladimir Makey, was appointed as Head of the Presidential Executive Office of Belarus and the Chairman of the State Security Committee (KSB), Yuri Zhadobin, was appointed as the Secretary of the Security Council. The First Deputy Chairman of the Frontier Troops Committee, Vadim Zaitsev, was appointed as Chairman of the KGB. State Secretary of the Security Council, Viktor Sheyman, and Head of the Presidential Executive Office of Belarus, Genady Nevyglas, have been dismissed.

Expert of the Minsk Strategy Analytical Centre, Valery Karbalevich, says the bomb blast in Minsk on the Independence Day was a formal reason why the officials were fired. If to proceed from the official version, it would be logical to sack the Head of the KGB and the Minister of the Interior, however, Yuri Zhadobin was even advanced, analyst marks.

Karbalevich suggests that the reshuffle was planned long ago. Viktor Sheyman was Lukashenko's right hand and one of the masterminds of the political repressions. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and the Council of Europe resolution requests that Sheyman be fired on suspicion of involvement in disappearance of the Belarusian politicians. He is the last representative of the old team with which Lukashenko came to power in 1994. Sheyman was the main witness of a doubtful attempt on Lukashenko's life in 1994.

"Lukashenko got rid of his last companion-in-arms. Currently he owes the governmental officials nothing. A dictator does not need companions-in-arms, he needs subordinates. In a sense, Shejman showed some independence". But for last several years Lukashenko was gradually losing control over the security agencies. Now those agencies are run by the President's elder son, Viktor Lukashenko, who is the Aide to the President on National Security.

Dismissal of Sheyman and appointments of the new people, who have nothing to do with the political repressions, can look like Lukashenka's attempt to improve the relations with the West, expert concludes. A younger new team is being formed, which is less connected with the Soviet heritage and partly with Russia, he notes. There is no telling if it will be corporate since Belarus' political system is closed and Lukashenko continues to be the major decision-maker. The reshuffles can be indirectly related to the parliamentary elections and to the start of a more intense privatization stage; new challenges should be faced by a new team, Karbalevich adds.